O’Dwyer looks forward to John Shortt Legends Day at Punchestown
Conor O’Dwyer has urged racing fans to offer their support for the John Shortt Legends Day at Punchestown next Thursday, where he, Paul Carberry, Mick Kinane, Charlie Swan and many other high-profile former jockeys will be taking part in the charity race.
An auction will also take place on the day, with the prizes on offer includes a morning on the gallops and breakfast with Jonjo O'Neill, and Sir Michael Stoute.
There are also return flights by private jet to Cheltenham in March, 12 months' training fees with Michael Halford and Jessica Harrington, and a nomination to stallions Dandy Man and Mehmas. All proceeds from the event will go to building a house for Shortt's family.
Shortt, who died aged 53 this year, was a popular jumps jockey who rode around 400 winners, including Space Trucker in the 1996 Fighting Fifth Hurdle. He retired in 1998 and became a jockeys' agent, with O'Dwyer, Swan, Shay Barry and Ken Whelan among those he had on his books.
O’Dwyer, who was a close friend of Shortt, said: “It’s a testimony to the man that nobody’s arm needed twisting to take part in this day, and it's heart-warming to see how many people want to be involved.
"The support we have received has been fantastic and all of the riders taking part are on course to reach their target of €5,000, which is a fair sum of money.
“It promises to be a brilliant afternoon and the prizes we have assembled for the auction are terrific. We just hope people turn out to support the day as it’s for a good cause and it should be a lot of fun.”
'It's a great cause'
Also returning to the saddle for the day is Philip Dempsey, who admits getting back to race fitness hasn’t been easy.
He said: “I borrowed a bike off a friend and I'll be very happy to give it back! My kids give me awful stick about being a small fat jockey so I've been doing plenty of work to make sure I at least look the part."
He continued: “It’s a great cause, though it feels odd returning to the saddle. I don’t think the competitive streak ever leaves you as a jockey.
“Lorcan Wyer has been flat out riding for Gordon [Elliott] and Brendan Sheridan is down with Willie [Mullins] every other day. I bumped into Martin Lynch the other day and he looks 25-years-old again.
“Every one of us wants to win and, while it’s for a good cause, we aren’t treating it like a charity race. Gordon is meant to be giving me a horse for the day and I hope it’s a good one because I’d love to win it.”
More information on the event can be found at www.punchestown.com
Full list of auction prizes
- An original artwork piece by renowned equine artist John Fitzgerald.
- A nomination to Havana Gold.
- A nomination to Dandy Man.
- A nomination to Mehmas.
- A nomination to Sir Percy.
- 12 months training fees with Jessica Harrington.
- 12 months training fees with Michael Halford.
- Private country house dinner party at Rathsallagh House prepared by Derry Clarke of L'Ecrivain. The dinner party will be hosted by Ruby Walsh and 19 friends are welcome to join.
- A trip to the Dubai World Cup for two or a trip to Dubrovnik for two.
- A 'live the dream' Cheltenham trip that features a private jet transfer for six people from Dublin to Gloucestershire airport on Monday March 12, invitation to a pre-Cheltenham dinner hosted by Rich Ricci and overnight accommodation. The trip also features a morning on the gallops with Jonjo O'Neill followed by breakfast, raceday admission and owners and trainers badges for Tuesday's racing followed by a return flight by private jet that evening.
- A VIP trip to Ballydoyle and Coolmore for six people including lunch in Fethard
- A round of golf with Tony McCoy and Ruby Walsh at The K Club
- A VIP trip to Sir Michael Stoute's
- Two VIP trips to see Manchester United take on Spurs in the Premier League on Saturday October 28.
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